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J-1 Visa Information

Please Note 

Effective May 15, 2015, the U. S. Department of State increased the minimum insurance requirements. Please visit our J-1 Students' Health Insurance page for more details.

The J-1 student visa is used for different types of Exchange Visitor students at UMass Dartmouth:

  • Non-degree students in the University exchange programs under an agreement between their home institutions and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 
  • Non-degree home government-sponsored students
  • Non-degree students in special summer programs
  • Degree students with a Fulbright award
  • Degree students with home government sponsorship

Depending on your category, different offices or advisors will be in charge of your study program and other academic matters such as billing and financial issues.  This is further explained under the Degree Status and Non-Degree Status links at the bottom of this page.  

In some cases the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC) issues the DS-2019 form that will enable you to apply for a J-1 entry visa.  The Center also provides J-1 students with general advice and assistance with campus life and personal concerns.  Ongoing support for visas and other immigration forms is available.

The J-1 visa differs from the F-1 visa in important ways.  Authorization for this program comes from the U. S. Department of State, although the regulation and reporting are under the supervision of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its agencies, as are other visa types.  Before applying for a J-1 visa, you must pay the SEVIS fee.  Learn more about the J-1 visa and the SEVIS fee.

To help safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all exchange visitors, the U.S. State Department has established an Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) Emergency Hotline – 1-866-283-9090 – a 24/7 toll-free telephone number that allows exchange visitors to directly contact the Department in emergency and urgent situations. 

Summary of Requirements for the J-1 Visa

The section below contains actions that you are responsible for as a student at UMass Dartmouth on a J-1 visa. 

Most Important 

Contact the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC) if you are unsure about any of the regulations or procedures that affect your J-1 status.

Things you must always do as an international student

  • Register full-time every semester according to your academic program/degree level; no more than one on-line course is allowed each semester to meet full-time requirements; if you have only one course to complete your program, it cannot be an on-line course
  • Get passing grades in your courses according to your academic program/degree level; make progress towards completing your program or degree; grades of W or WF do not count towards full-time enrollment
  • Keep your passport current; preferably, at least 6 months into the future
  • Keep your DS-2019 paperwork current; this means full-time enrollment in a program of study or an approved post-study program such as Academic Training
  • Accept only ISSC-authorized on or off-campus employment, and at a maximum of 20 hours per week while enrolled in classes
  • Update your COIN account with any address change immediately – or within 10 days at the latest, even in the summer
  • Tell us immediately if you change your name
  • Maintain a permanent address outside the U.S.
  • Obey all U.S. laws
  • Notify us if you have dependents accompanying or joining you
  • Read all ISSC communications and check your myUMassDaccount.  Such communications and emails may contain important information regarding your legal immigration status in the U.S.
  • Come to the ISSC office immediately if you are not doing any of the above; you may be eligible for reinstatement or record correction

Things you must never do as an international student

  • Do not work anywhere on or off campus without permission
  • Do not let your passport or DS-2019 paperwork expire; your passport must be current to at least 6 months in the future
  • Your visa must be valid when entering U.S
  • Do not stop going to class or drop a class without telling us; we must authorize any changes in your enrollment; a grade of W or WF does not count towards full-time enrollment
  • Do not enroll in more than one on-line class per semester; your full-time status will be invalid
  • Do not travel outside the U.S. without valid travel signatures on your DS-2019 forms
  • Do not forget to report any change of address

Things always requiring special permission

  • On or off-campus employment
  • Change of major
  • Requesting a leave of absence from your program of study
  • Changing to another non-immigrant or immigrant status
  • Extending your program of study; the request must be made prior to the expiration date on your DS-2019
  • Withdrawal from the University
  • Transferring to another school

When must I leave the U.S.?

  • After the "date of completion" on your current Form DS-2019, including any program extensions you may have received; or when you complete your authorized academic program requirements, whichever comes first
  • Students who are approved for authorized employment (Academic Training) after they complete their academic program may remain until the end of the training period.  Academic Training includes a 30-day grace period when you may not work but may travel inside the U.S. and prepare to return home no later than 30 days after the end of your training period/employment.

A Note About Health Insurance

All enrolled international students must carry health insurance:

  • J-1 non-degree students in University exchange programs may be covered by health insurance from their home countries.  It is your responsibility to consult with UMass Dartmouth Health Services to determine if your insurance meets the U.S. Department of State and Massachusetts requirements. 
  • J-1 degree students must purchase U.S. health insurance (through UMass Dartmouth) even if previously or concurrently covered by home-country insurance.
  • J-1 Fulbright scholars may use the insurance provided by their agency but must have their insurance reviewed and cleared by UMass Dartmouth Health Services.  Please see the additional information in the Health Insurance link.

Authorized Officials

The following University officials are authorized to sign UMass Dartmouth DS-2019 forms and other J-1 paperwork.

Responsible Officer (RO)

Daniel Pirbudagov
Executive Director, ISSC & IPO
International Education
(508) 910-6633

Alternate Responsible Officers (ARO)

Meghan Houghton
Associate Director, ISSC
(508) 910-6633

Pat Mooney
Administrative Assistant, ISSC
(508) 910-6633 Avoiding Immigration Scams

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